With its dramatic, forward-leaning profile, as if captured at speed by a camera’s focal-plane shutter, the Sharknose was originally called the “Spirit of Motion.” Behind its Streamline Modern-inspired grille with its multiple layers of horizontal bars lies an L-head straight-six engine displacing 218 cubic inches. Supplied by Continental, it produced 90 horsepower; however, a supercharged option bumped the power rating up to a substantial 116 hp.

1939 Graham Sharknose, Graham, Graham Sharknose

1939 Graham Sharknose | Image Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Only slightly more than 8,000 Sharknoses were built during its three-year production run that began in 1938 and ended in 1940. It’s a remarkable, awe-inspiring design–from its slanted front end with its uncharacteristic square headlamps to the rounded shape of both front and rear fenders. If ever there were an award for America’s most distinctive prewar car design, the Graham Sharknose would have to take top honors.

1939 Graham Sharknose, Graham, Graham Sharknose

1939 Graham Sharknose | Image Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

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